Edinburgh, UK

Edinburgh, UK is Scotland’s compact, hilly capital. Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, divided by the broad Princes Street Gardens, were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 in recognition of the unique character of the Old Town with its medieval street layout and the planned Georgian New Town, including the adjoining Dean Village and Calton Hill areas. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city. The Old Town runs downhill and terminates at Holyrood Palace. Minor streets (called closes or wynds) lie on either side of the main spine forming a herringbone pattern The West End includes the financial district, and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. If you’d like to have an in-person guided running experience in Edinburgh, we highly recommend our friends at Go! Running Tours.

Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.

For runners, it’s possible to see many of the city’s historical and architectural highlights within a 4-5 mile tour. The running highlight is a tour of Arthur’s Seat (Holyrood Park), and for those who like hills, the run up to Calton Hill and the Edinburgh Castle. Water of Leith is a lovely canal side run, providing an opportunity to rack up the miles. The sea is 5km to the east, where there’s good beach side running in Portobello. Slightly further afield, head to the Pentland Hills, where wonderful, open trails head up hills, through meadows, farms, and fields, and along reservoirs.
Buses are the main form of transport within Edinburgh, mainly operated by Lothian Buses. Rail serves suburbs and other parts of Scotland.

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Some of our favorite runs in Edinburgh, UK

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Edinburgh’s climate is synonymous with its landscape. Bring your cool, wet weather gear. Summers are mild and rarely hot. Average high temps in summer are on the mid 60s (19C), and nights are cool, dropping to about 50F (10C). Winters are damp, where the air feels colder than temps that average in the mid-40s (6C) in January, with average lows right around freezing. Snowfall is occasional.

There’s not a lot of sunshine – some 2/3 of days in most season have precipitation, though average rainfall is only 26 inches — less than New York or Boston. Two other noteworthy features are frequent wind, and the variation in day length, from a scant 7 hours in December to 16 hours in July. Enjoy those summertime late evening runs!

There’s a good selection of hotels in the center of Edinburgh, in both Old Town and New Town. Most are centrally located and are near the routes we’ve suggested for the city. There’s a cluster of hotels near Holyrood Park, which is great for running. There are also hotels near Regent Gardens and Princes Street Gardens at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.


There are a few good indy running stores in Edinburgh.

Runners Need.

Run and Become. Good running store in New Town, near Princes Street Gardens. Lots of in-store events, here.

Run 4 It.  Good store in arts district near the Castle area. Small chain with several other stores in Scotland. Their web site has a great list of running clubs in the area. Group Runs from their store Mondays 6pm.

Group Runs and Community

We recommend Edinburgh Run Tours, which offers wonderful guided runs of Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

We also recommend Run the Sights, which offers wonderful guided tours of Edinburgh (as well as Glasgow and Dundee).


RunABC Scotland has a good list of races in Scotland.